EcoFish Review—Qix Me Baby One More Time!
Like Maura before me, I have one problem with Cubixx: the lack of modes and variety in levels. We are not calling for game developers to reinvent the wheel, but just add some original twist to the tried and tired concept. EcoFish does exactly what we want, but with less, much less, face value.
Not that I am not complaining about that, but it seems like Eclipse Games could have prettified EcoFish given that the game was already released on iOS earlier last year. That aside, the animated special effects in the game look extremely good compared to the rest of its graphical attributes. Good thing, though, that EcoFish seemed to be cheaper than its iOS version when it arrived in PlayStation Mobile, and there seem to be more, or at least redesigned, levels with the PSM version. There is a bigger miss, though, as this game is touchscreen only; your fingers will be burned!
Obviously, this is a Qix clone, with the core gameplay being the same. However, the premise is more nature-friendly, as you are supposed to be cleaning the polluted seas, and you control a fish. The graphics are very mediocre, bordering on ugly. It doesn’t offend me, though, since the gameplay clearly makes up for it. However, it is very apparent that the game needs further polishing as it did lock up on me more than a couple of times, or this might just be on my PlayStation Vita. Nevertheless, the loading screen shows a white bar that doesn’t show progress, so there’s that.
However, this should not deter you from purchasing the game, as there are vast amounts of Qix gaming to be had with EcoFish. It has loads and loads of levels for the Adventure Mode alone. There are 15 stages per location, and since there are a total of four locations, that’s 60 levels. You earn stars for every stage completion, three being the max. These stars are not just medals, but rather they are required to unlock the other two modes: Time Trial, essentially Adventure Mode with a time constraint, unlocked for 100 stars, and the Treasure Hunt Mode, in which you have to get coins along the way in order to complete a level, unlocked for 50 stars. The levels are also well designed, with new enemies appearing as you progress, new hindrances like ice and lava, as well as power-ups. The layouts of the stages are also well made and very fun to complete. The clearing percentage varies on a stage to stage basis, as expected.
There are worthy additions, too, like animated story sequences unlocked by progressing through Adventure (well, everything is unlocked through Adventure), enemy profiles and postcards. Honestly, I find EcoFish a great value for the money, and that is weird to say for a PlayStation Mobile title.
The biggest gripe I have with this game is the controls. The analog sticks are useless, as physical methods are not available in the control schemes. You have to run your fingers all over your screen, and this might get uncomfortable in the long run. Also, the controls just aren’t that great. There are various times when the fish swims in the exact opposite of the direction you want it to take. You could probably get over these nuances, but since this game seems to target a young audience, it’d be hard for them. Well, the game is hard in and of itself if you are a child; for adults, it would be adequately challenging.
EcoFish will not clean up the messy reputation of the PlayStation Mobile platform, but it at least eases a few things up with a good value-for-the-money proposition. Even though, in all honesty, the controls and the graphics are negatives to the sum of its parts.